I Have a New Pet - Called Sourdough

One of the surprises after the Yeo Valley cookery demonstration I mentioned last week was the departing gift of my very own sourdough starter. I'd always wanted to have a go at making bread using this method, so here was just the encouragement I needed.

However, on getting it safely home, I was faced with the fundamental question of what on earth do I do next?

I looked through all my breadmaking books but they only referred to a more solid sounding starter, rather than the liquid form I had in front of me.

Thanks to the 52 Week Salad Challenge, I'd already become a regular Twitter and blog correspondent with Carl Legge.  He pointed me in the direction of the very thing I needed re sourdough starters: in his article for Permaculture magazine :)

I'm keeping my starter in a large, clean old coffee jar. The picture shows a nicely active starter a few days after I started taking care of my new 'pet'.

Since then I've managed to:

  • Keep my starter alive for a couple of weeks
  • Learn it doesn't matter if the starter's 'feed' of equal parts flour and water is a bit lumpy when added
  • Put my starter's progress on 'hold' by keeping it in the fridge
  • Revive my starter a couple of times after keeping it in the fridge
  • Frozen some active starter so I have some 'spares' which will keep for up to a year
  • Learn the starter is much livelier on a warm, sunny day (I'm keeping mine on the kitchen windowsill until we get scorchio summer temperatures)
I've also made my first ever sourdough loaf, but that's a post for another day :)


  1. Our neighbor makes us this bread all the time! Wonderful gift from him!

  2. It must the zeitgeist, I started a new starter (if you see what I mean) yesterday! I've had trouble keeping them alive in the past; eventually they go black, slimy and stinky - does your guru have anything to say about that I wonder? (Makes the *best* bread though - here's one of mine http://www.flickr.com/photos/turquoise_lisa/4929998398/

  3. What a lovely gift! What is it called though? According to artisan bakers on the Hairy Bikers Bakeation you have to give your starter a name (I think theirs was called Maria). Mine's Idris and since I named him I haven't killed him. He's my pet that lives in the fridge (and he makes great bread!)

  4. Am just recovering from the excitement of looking after Herman the German Friendship cake which involved much bubbling away in the kitchen. Will have to investigate bread next :)

  5. Love it! Our starter is still figuring itself out...just as I'm figuring it our! So much fun!


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